After an entire month away from flight lessons, I finally made it back to class today, March 16th, for a lesson in the N64281 with Steve Davies out of SCH. I had been stressing about today’s lesson because it has just been too long since I’ve been up in that plane, and up with my CFI. Well, as it turned out, there was no need for that stress!
The weather wasn’t looking favorable, but it cleared up just in time for my lesson. The C172 was in the hangar, so he came out nice and warm, and the sun was shining and it was above 5 degrees (I could pre-flight without my hands freezing!), and I went through the checklist with ease, and even borrowed a step ladder so that I could check the gas myself! So far, so good!
Got in and made sure all was where I had left it. Steve joined me and then it was time. OK. Radio. Let me? Yep! I did it. Schenectady Ground, this is Skyhawk 64281 on the ramp at Richmor ready to taxi. And they talked back to me! Yes! Got clearance to taxi to runway 4, via B, 1, A. And I knew what that meant. AND, I got us there. All me! Did the runup, called in and got clearance to takeoff, and did. All me! Perfectly.
Watched us on the GPS (and looked out the window) as we flew directly over the runway. I’m proud that I’ve never heard my CFI say “more right rudder”. It really was a perfect takeoff. And I called the tower and asked if I could turn left (for my North heading) and everything. Everything just went so well!
Today’s lesson included a bit of instrument work, along with some steep turns. Foggle play and keeping the plane level in those steep turns made me a little dizzy (and I’m still a little dizzy sitting here typing!).
Steve had the opportunity to see how I can be either very smart or very stupid. Had some issues remembering which technology ran which instruments. Vacuum, electrical, static, gyro. Yes, I have read that chapter 4 times. Yes, I still forgot everything. Thank you, CFI, for understanding that I have no room in my brain sometimes and I have to touch things to remember them.
The majority of our lesson focused on emergency procedures. What to do if there’s a fire in the cockpit. What to do if there’s a fire on the wing. What to do if the engine fails. And that’s what we did. Pretended the engine failed! Steve went through the steps with me as I called out the checklist items. Find the best glide speed, find a place to land, go through the checklist!
Thanks to Captain Glickman for teaching me early on to always be on the lookout for a place to land. Always. Steve said “you’re cheating” when I started looking out the window. I replied, “I’m always looking for a place to land!”. Good!
Steve handled the first landing, where we selected a private airstrip and went in (and then miraculously our engine came to life and we did a go-around). We resumed altitude and then it was my turn. You have the controls. I have the controls.
We were close enough to 5B2 (on purpose) so as soon as the engine failure started, I got us to our best glide speed and then found my best approach to 5B2 as Steve went through the checklists. With the engine out (simulated), I had to land, so … I did. Me. I did. I landed the N64281 on runway 32 at Saratoga! It was a glorious landing! Steve took the controls once we were on the ground and then said, “wait, you can do this, you take it back!”, which made me feel great! So I brought us to a stop and we went over to runway 5 and took off back up into the sky. And yes, it was another perfect takeoff! Made me feel SO good to have that down. Really nice. Really happy feeling inside.
Once we were done there, we headed back to SCH. Steve handled the communications on our way back in, but let me fly the N64281 to the ground. He helped out a bit on landing at SCH (just a little bit), and I taxied us back over to secure my baby down for the night!
What a glorious day of flight (in the air AND on the ground!). So good to be landing a plane once again! So grateful to everyone for helping me on my way and for believing that I do fly like a starfruit.
I love it up there!